The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is open daily and free to enjoy.
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, designed by internationally acclaimed landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, is free for all to enjoy.
As well as Stuart-Smith’s distinctive planting, there are outdoor sculptures by Sir Michael Craig-Martin, Barbara Hepworth and Kim Lim.
Tom Stuart-Smith’s design draws inspiration from its unusual setting between 19th-century red-brick mills and a 21st-century art gallery, edged by the River Calder. It echos the striking, angular shapes of the David Chipperfield-designed gallery while harnessing a naturalism that reflects Barbara Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.
Find out about the story of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden here.
Sculpture in the garden
Ascending Form (Gloria), 1958
Wakefield Permanent Art Collection (The Hepworth Wakefield), Donated by Eric and Jean Cass through the Contemporary Art Society 2010
The two diamond shapes in Ascending Form (Gloria) can be seen as representing natural forms, with the one growing organically out of the other, or as a reference to hands coming together in prayer.
One of her most frequently recurring subjects was the standing form, which she related to the feeling of a human figure in the landscape.
Pitchfork (Yellow), 2013
Sir Michael Craig-Martin
Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian
This 4m yellow pitchfork stands tall amongst the trees in the garden. It is taken from a series of giant and brightly coloured painted steel sculptures that resemble commonplace objects.
Appearing like drawings in the air, Craig-Martin’s deceptively simple sculptures pose questions about the role that objects play in our everyday lives.
Hear Michael Craig-Martin describe his sculpture in this short film.
Kim Lim (1936–1997)
Acquired with the support of the Contemporary Art Society, 1983
This work, Day, which is made from painted steel, was conceived as an outdoor sculpture. The tall arch not only acts as a sun dial casting shadows to gauge the time of day and year, but its elongated form and curved crest echo the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun.
The acquisition of Day into Wakefield collection in 1983 was prompted by Lim’s close alignment with the sculptural ethos of Barbara Hepworth, as both artists shared a mutual concern for the relationship between abstraction and the landscape.
Gabriel Reaching for Heaven, 2022
A major new commission by Sheila Hicks
To coincide with Sheila Hicks’ first major UK retrospective, we have commissioned Hicks to create a new outdoor sculpture for our garden. This five-metre-tall column entitled Gabriel Reaching for Heaven, 2022 is made from a cascade of coloured cords.
Since the 1970s, Hicks has exhibited her work outdoors in both urban and rural settings that include the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, Paris and the High Line in New York. Hicks’ commitment to engaging with the public realm has been expanded through her work with innovative textile producer Sunbrella to develop weather resistant fibres. Hicks’ outdoor works push pigmented fibres to their physical and conceptual limits, creating soft architectural inventions in form and vivid colour.
In bloom this winter
The holly-leaved hellebore is a perennial native to Corsica and Sardinia and has evergreen, spiny leaves with a beautiful turquoise tint. Like other hellebores they flower in winter and as the season progresses their nodding pale green blooms will uncurl. Helleborus argutifolius is a resilient plant and beautiful in combination with our Geranium ‘Salome’ and Omphalodes cappadocica.
Rosy, red crab-apples stay on the bare stems of Malus ‘Evereste’ all winter long, providing food for the birds on cold, frosty days. This is an excellent tree for year-round interest, with beautiful blossom in the spring and bright autumn colour too.
Fagus sylvatica (beech)
Beech hedges provide a sculptural, repeating motif across the garden. Although they are deciduous, when beech trees are clipped and kept as hedges, the plants hold on to their leaves throughout winter, protecting the stems from the cold. These bronze-coloured leaves rustle in the breeze and provide excellent habitat for birds. As the new green leaves emerge in spring, they push the old ones away.
This evergreen shrub has delicate white flowers in the summer which turn into bright red berries. The plant is commonly known as heavenly bamboo, and although not truly a bamboo it has a similar upright character and reaches about 1.5m high. The leaves change colour throughout the year, emerging a ruby-purple and shifting away from green again as the temperatures cool.
Diary of a Cultural Gardener
Help Katy care for The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
We have transformed a strip of unused land into a beautiful flower-filled garden, free for all to enjoy. As a living composition, the Garden requires daily care and attention to ensure it remains an urban oasis for everyone.
If you are able, please support this work. Any donation, no matter the size, makes a real difference. Please donate here.